We had a great conversation last night. We, meaning myself, my husband and my three kids. The great conversation - how to navigate that balance between our immediate family and the families that each of my three children will create and nurture - as they marry/connect/find another to spend their lives with and perhaps (of course they will, I NEED to be a grandma!!) have children of their own.
This conversation is very timely, as my son is engaged and a wedding is being planned for next year. And so talking about the shift in our family dynamic at this time makes a lot of sense. My son started the conversation by describing us - the five of us - our family, as a pack.
This amuses me and causes me pause, both.
As some of you may know if you have been reading my previous posts, we have a new and brilliant and beautiful and amazing and what-other-adjectives-can-I-use-to-describe my Doberman puppy and have been working with a new trainer so that we can learn how best to help her be her best. I spoke about this last week. A lot of the conversation centers around this pup of ours and how she fits into the family. In dog language this means how she fits into our pack.
The fact that we have been learning about pack behavior at just this time, when these changes are taking place in our family with my own children, does not surprise me. For just as life imitates art - or is it the other way around - so does the integration of my sweet and smart and quite breathtaking puppy mirror the growth that is occurring with each of my children as well as my husband and I.
We are a very strong pack.
We just are. We have a complicated and powerful energy that runs through the five of us and keeps us connected just as we are very much individuals. I am very proud of our family. But this, the strength of the totality of us, is also that thing that often makes it difficult. For just as a lone wolf has to step gently into the alpha's den in the hopes of being accepting into the pack, so each of my children's chosen partner must feel that intensity as they enter into the fold that is our family.
And so we strive for balance. But more.
Because the conversation tonight centered not on the importance of this new pup/spouse/girl or boyfriend becoming part of our pack as they connect/mate/marry each of our children, but that each of our children go off with their chosen partner and start a pack of their own.
And it is our job, my husband's and mine, as pack leaders, to support them as they leave the fold that has, up until now, been their core. We are saying to each of them, collectively tonight, and also to the incredible partners that they have chosen or will choose in the future, you are not turning your back on us, breaking your loyalty, betraying our trust, by creating a pack of your own. In truth, you are doing exactly what you are supposed to do. Creating a nuclear family that is your very own.
You will all be great pack leaders.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Dog and Cat lover.